LANCASTER, PA—Observing that she is way ahead of other girls her age, sources close to precocious 4-year-old Tessa Davison confirmed Wednesday that she already feels completely terrible about herself.
Davison’s parents and teachers told reporters the exceptional preschooler has already begun to think of herself as a completely worthless person who will never be as smart or likable as everyone else, a mindset, they were quick to point out, most girls don’t start developing until middle school.
“Tessa isn’t even 5 yet, but she’ll spend hours worrying about the way she looks and whether other kids think she’s dumb—she’s way ahead of the curve with that stuff,” said Davison’s mother, Sarah, who noted that other children’s parents are often surprised by her daughter’s remarkable ability to see awful qualities in herself. “A lot of girls twice or even three times Tessa’s age aren’t even at that point. But then, she’s always seemed a bit more advanced, psychologically and emotionally, than her peers.”
“Just last week, I saw Tessa watching TV, and she just naturally began comparing her appearance against the actresses and models she was watching—she picked that up instantly, all on her own,” she continued. “It really is something.”
Though Davison only started paying close attention to her personal weaknesses recently, reports indicate the 4-year-old has nonetheless developed an extraordinary ability to stress out about the number of friends she has, the kinds of clothes she wears, and whether she is disappointing everyone else in her life, skills that typically take years for children to master. Moreover, Davison’s parents noted that their daughter is constantly developing astonishing new anxieties about herself every day.
According to relatives, when Davison was only 3 years old, she was already using words like “repulsive” and “incompetent” to describe herself. A year later, they said, she routinely locks herself in her room and scrutinizes herself in front of a mirror, refusing to come out because she feels ugly.
Sources speculated that at this rate, Davison will likely conclude she is an inherently unlovable human being whose opinions do not matter and who is wholly undeserving of affection as early as age 9 or 10, far earlier than most girls do.
“The way she talks about how she’s no good at anything and therefore there’s no point in even trying, sometimes she sounds just like the high schoolers,” said Rachel Dunn, who teaches Davison’s prekindergarten class. “For example, when other kids on the playground invite her to play a game with them, she’s always too self-conscious to join in. And the other day, when she answered a question incorrectly, I heard her muttering to herself that she would never talk in class again because she felt like such an idiot.”
“You don’t see many kids in pre-K capable of shaming themselves on a sixth-grade level the way Tessa does,” Dunn continued.
According to child psychologists, Davison is indeed advanced in her emotional development, often talking quietly because she thinks her speaking voice sounds weird, or quitting activities she enjoys because she’s afraid she will embarrass herself. Studies show most girls don’t start throwing away half their lunch because they think they’re too fat until adolescence, but Davison is said to already be skipping snack time with regularity.
Experts emphasized, however, that while Davison has a developmental head start on her peers right now, her classmates will still catch up to her eventually.
When reached for comment, Davison’s father, Kent, remarked that he was surprised by how quickly his young daughter was changing.
“My little girl is growing up so fast,” he said. “She clearly takes after her mother.”